News that National is looking to limit the right of the public to have their say on "regionally significant" projects is against the spirit of the RMA, Labour's Environment spokesperson Grant Robertson says.
"National is preparing to limit public participation in decisions that it considers regionally significant. That is over the top. The public deserve a proper say in developments that affect their communities and environment," says Grant Robertson.
"Phil Heatley has said that some projects, such as the decision on the mine on the Denniston Plateau will have limited public participation, and appeals will only be allowable on points of law. This is not what New Zealanders would expect in terms of fairness and transparency. "
"The RMA may not be perfect, but it allows all New Zealanders to have a say on how development occurs. Just because that might not always suit a developer or the Government is not a good enough reason to stifle public participation."
"Labour supports the principles of the RMA, and the need for robust laws and processes to protect and preserve our environment. In this framework, there is plenty of scope for sustainable development to occur. We are always open to sensible amendments to the RMA.
"Of course there will be cases from time to time that justify an expedited process. The national significance test is a reasonable one for that, but extending it to a regional level is a bridge too far."
"National's proposal to limit public participation is unfair and uncalled for, and the Government should not proceed with the changes," Grant Robertson says.
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